Working on a construction project can come with a long ‘to do’ list. Not only that, but you have to deal with the stress of navigating planning conditions as well as numerous building regulations. Acoustic issues don’t have to further complicate this process.
Could an Acoustic Assessment be a requirement for your site?
Of all pollution issues, noise causes the largest number of complaints. This means the control of sound and noise is a critical design aspect in building projects.
The most common times you may need an Acoustic Assessment are:
Local Planning Authorities have the responsibility of determining what development proposals are given consent in their area taking into account “material considerations”. Noise pollution is a “material consideration”, thus noise assessments in line with BS8233 and BS4142 are often required for Planning Applications.
Example: A residential house is being built near to a railway. A Noise Assessment helps to assess how noise would affect the residents and provides recommendations to mitigate noise issues. Depending on the situation, vibration impacts from the trains may also require assessing.
Example: A new warehouse at the edge of an industrial estate which neighbours a residential area. Noise from the development would be due to forklifts working outside as well as building services equipment. A Noise Assessment for Planning would determine the viability of the site and help inform the overall design and layout to minimise plant noise and expensive noise mitigation.
A development’s size, properties or location may trigger the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to protect the environment. Potential noise and vibration effects are important considerations of an EIA.
Example: A major proposed development has been determined as an EIA development. Due to the size and nature of the development, traffic noise, plant noise and construction noise have the potential to affect the environment. As such a noise and vibration assessment will be required to assess all the potential acoustic effects.
Our acoustic consultants can help with the EIA screening and scoping process as well as the Environmental Statement noise and vibration chapter.
To ensure that new, converted or extended buildings are built to an adequate standard, they are required to meet minimum specifications. Under Part E of the Building Regulations, dwellings and certain educational buildings are required to meet specific sound insulation and other room acoustic standards.
Example: A multi-storey office space over a busy restaurant is being converted into flats. The Acoustic Assessment, consisting of a preliminary sound insulation testing and an acoustic design review, provides actionable recommendations in terms of partition build-ups, surface finishes and junction detailing to the architect to ensure compliance with the Building Regulation standards.
To promote sustainable construction, environmental rating schemes such as BREEAM are used. As part of such requirements, credits for noise pollution and acoustic performance need to be achieved to obtain the desired rating.
Example: An expansion is proposed at a healthcare facility containing wards and treatment rooms. The BREEAM pre-assessment has identified the Pol 05 and Hea 05 as targeted credits. Our acoustic consultants, who are ‘Suitably Qualified Acousticians’, can assist architects, building services engineers and other members of the design team with the acoustic related specifications to help meet the HTM 08-01 acoustic design requirements for BREEAM. Upon completion, BREEAM Hea 05 sound testing and Pol 05 validation can be undertaken by our acoustic consultants to demonstrate compliance.
Some developments require bespoke acoustic design criteria, either as their business requirements, or high-end residential developments.
Example: Obvious examples are cinemas, theatres and music studios. But also less obvious ones such as hotels, offices or courtrooms where noise and privacy are important may require an acoustic assessment.
In order to protect and improve the environment, the Environment Agency is responsible for regulating noise pollution from operators that require environmental permits.
Example: A factory or waste transfer facility may require, either as part of a Planning Application or due to complaints, a BS 4142 Noise Assessment and, where required, noise mitigation measures to support their environmental permits.
Councils have an obligation under the Environmental Protection Act to investigate noise that could be classified as a statutory nuisance. Depending on the time, duration and noise level, demolition and construction noise can be a statutory nuisance, requiring Councils to serve a Section 60 notice on the principal contractor limiting or even temporarily stopping work altogether.
Example: Demolition and construction works in Westminster, London. Many of the Councils in London typically require demolition and construction noise to be controlled through a Planning Condition requiring a Section 61 Application to be made. The contractor may also voluntarily make a Section 61 Application as this would provide some protection against a noise abatement notice.
Our acoustic consultants are highly experienced in undertaking BS 5228 noise assessments, providing noise mitigation recommendations, and undertaking construction noise and vibration monitoring in support of Section 61 Applications.
As you can see from these examples, there is a lot at stake if the noise impacts and acoustic implications have not been identified. This is further complicated by the complexity of all the requirements and acoustic criteria.
This is why at Lustre Consulting our acoustic specialists prepare technically robust reports that, identify the risk, and provide solutions.
Contact us today to see if we can save you time and stress.
Acoustics play an important role in our everyday lives, often unbeknown to the end-user. From the sounds that wake us up in the morning to the background noise throughout the day, Acoustic Assessments influence the built environment, to reduce the noise affecting you.
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